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Lessons from the history of globalisation

History shows that waves of globalisation are driven by both technology and policy, but protectionist shifts alone tend to end them. In some cases, like in the 1970s, a moderate pushback by policymakers can cause globalisation to stall. But the experience of the 1930s shows that a large, widespread and sustained policy backlash can push globalisation into reverse. So far at least, the current trade war looks more like the former, but the risks of a more malign outcome akin to the 1930s are rising.

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